Indigestion and Heartburn

 

Why do pregnant women get this?

Pregnancy hormones cause the valve leading into the stomach to relax, so it does not close tightly. This may allow small amounts of the stomach contents to escape into the oesophagus, causing an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest.

This may get worse from about 30 weeks gestation, as the increased size of the uterus pushes the stomach upwards. There may be some improvement at the end of pregnancy, once the babys head engages and the uterus drops slightly.

What can I do about it?

Try to eat smaller more frequent meals and stay upright after eating. Indigestion tends to be worse if you eat large meals, or if you lie down or bend over soon after eating.

If it troublesome at night, you may need to sleep slightly propped up on pillows. Try to identify those foods which make it worse it is often best to avoid very rich, spicy or fatty foods.

There are many antacids [indigestion remedies] available on the market and your pharmacist can advise you which ones are safe in pregnancy. If you need to take them regularly, your GP can prescribe them for you.